A serious celebration needs the perfect location. The UNESCO Asia-Pacific awarded Royal Opera House in Mumbai was the right place to fete the 14 winners of this year’s Golden Pencils and to recognize the participants of the second KOHLER Bold Design Awards India (KBDA India 2018) on 30 November. The Royal Opera House, India’s only surviving opera house, underwent tremendous conservation and renovation efforts led by Abha Narain Lambah who was one of the well-known judges of the KBDA India 2018. The hard work was recognized with the Cultural Heritage Conservation award of merit in 2017. The building was originally built in 1908 and to this date has an atmosphere of grandeur and elegance about it. The team of judges, the 37 nominees, and many guests gathered there to await the final cast of votes for the prestigious gold and steel trophy. In just two short years, the KBDA India 2018 has become a mark of excellence, brilliance, and exclusivity in the Indian architecture world. With over 1,200 initial submissions, it is one of the most popular design competitions on the subcontinent. The jury deliberated for two full days to create the shortlist of 37 nominees from which the winners were finally selected. To further underline the importance of the event, not only for the architects and designers but for Kohler Company, David Kohler, CEO and president of Kohler Company, was present to recognize the winner of the John Michael Kohler Lifetime Achievement award. Raj Rewal, an architect and urban design consultant, received the award for his life-long dedication to the profession, his humanist approach to design, and the global influence his work has. The jury selected the 14 winners from the 37 nominees based on criteria comprising aesthetics, attention to detail, the practicality of the projects, and relevance. Sanjay Puri, Verendra Wakhloo, Karan Grover, Smaran Mallesh, Saurabh Malpani, Samir Raut, Abin Chaudhry, Swarup Dutta, Ankur Choksi, Tony Joseph, Ketan Jawdekar, Dhananjay Shinde, Krishnan V, and Parvez Charania joint Raj Rewal as happy recipients of a Golden Pencil trophy. The jury pointed out that they were impressed that submissions came from the big metropolis as well as from smaller cities across the country. The overall sentiment was that the projects were innovative in the perspective, use of materials comprising mud, paper, wood pallets and more. They were particularly intrigued by the use of bold colors and patterns. While not everyone could win that Friday night, the overall feeling was, though, that all participants were winners. They have produced high-quality work within the industry and help to elevate architecture and design projects to strive for constant improvement. We like to thank all of the Indian architects and designers who sent in their work and hope that they will continue to design, create, construct, and built fantastic structures for the built environment in India and beyond – and that they will participate in the next competition.
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